Tuchel rates progress of Chelsea star he ‘would have loved’ as a teammate

Date published: Friday 19th November 2021 3:00 - Samuel Bannister

Thomas Tuchel shrugs during Newcastle vs Chelsea, October 2021

Thomas Tuchel has told loaned-out Chelsea prospect Conor Gallagher that he is “super happy” with his progress at Crystal Palace and even said he would have enjoyed being his teammate.

Chelsea have built up a reputation for loaning out dozens of players at a time in recent years. But of the current crop plying their trade away from Stamford Bridge, there is some optimism that Gallagher could have a long-term future there.

The midfielder impressed in his debut Premier League season with West Brom in 2020-21, despite suffering relegation. Following his return to parent club Chelsea, he was loaned out again in the summer.

This time he joined Crystal Palace and he has been continuing his progress. He was recently rewarded with his international debut for England.

Thus, there are growing hopes that Gallagher can be reintegrated back at Chelsea in future. Manager Tuchel is well aware of the progress he is making across London.

Asked if the 21-year-old may have a future with Chelsea, Tuchel said: “It is too early to talk about that in public before we talk with Conor himself and what his goals are.

“This will happen in the summer as we all agreed to the decision that we wanted to send him to Palace. He saw a possibility for him.

“I am not surprised the national coach loves him because I loved him from day one. Humble, nice, smile on his face and all the time ready to give everything, want to learn and improve.

“As a teammate I would have loved to play with him. It is a pleasure to know him. I am super happy that it has worked out so well. He needs to keep his feet on the ground.”

Conor Gallagher, Crystal Palace midfielder in Premier League action at Selhurst Park

Pressed on the idea of recalling him early from his loan, though, Tuchel said: “Actually I haven’t thought about it.

“I think it is important for him to be happy where he is and not change things. It is important to be calm. I feel him happy there and that he is having this impact at Crystal Palace.”

Tuchel provides Rudiger, Christensen updates

Meanwhile, two players currently at Tuchel’s disposal whose Chelsea futures are also unclear are defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Both have cemented their importance in Tuchel’s back three. But with contracts expiring at the end of the season, it remains doubtable how long left they have in a blue shirt.

Chelsea risk seeing them sign pre-contract agreements elsewhere from January. But they are still working to convince both to stay.

On Rudiger specifically, Tuchel made no secret of the fact that they need to sort his future.

“We know that, of course,” he said. “It is pretty clear what we want but it is not like this in football when the club wants something and things happen.

“You have to accept that sometimes it can arrive and you end up in situations where things are in a delay and take time. But I am very sure that Toni feels also how respected and what an important role he plays in this club.”

Then bringing Christensen into the conversation, he said of the duo: “Things are mature, respectful and clear. Of course there are delays.

“With Andreas too, from my point of view, we all want the same thing.

“Hopefully and obviously I expect some good news in the next days but everything can change. The situations are handled from all sides very carefully.

“So, during the process we can produce performances that we need to fulfil our goals.”

READ MORETuchel pledges faith in Chelsea star who must step up after injury updates

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